It's two o'clock in the afternoon, and you have reached your typical afternoon crash. You wonder why it is that this happens every single day—it's as if coffee doesn't have any effect on you anymore. You swear you've overheard people say they are "immune to caffeine," and you're starting to wonder if that's happening to you. How are you going to get through midterms if you can't boost your energy? 

As college students, we've become very familiar with artificial energy: not sleeping enough, running on coffee and energy drinks, studying every day while trying to maintain a social life, but also getting involved in extracurricular activities. You feel the need to make yourself seem as well-rounded as possible while also trying to hold on to a morsel of mental sanity. It is not easy. Luckily, there are four natural energy-boosts that you can incorporate into your day to help you stabilize your mood and energy levels throughout taxing college days. 

1. Moderate your refined sugar intake

candy, sweet, jelly beans
Christin Urso

After you finish a bag of candy or a large soda, you may feel an immediate surge of energy. After eating excess refined sugar, you will feel this surge initially, but don't let this deceive you; the feeling that follows is not nearly as fun. When you experience a "sugar crash," your blood glucose—the most common sugar in our body—drops below the normal range. Symptoms of this decrease in blood sugar are irritability, headache, fatigue, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating.

Moderating your refined sugar intake can help you avoid the sugar crash. I am not suggesting that you go "sugar-free," but it is important to keep your sugar levels regular to stabilize your mood and energy. Instead of consuming large quantities of refined sugars, try to limit yourself and eat small amounts of sugar, preferably natural sugar, throughout the day to stabilize your energy levels and prevent a crash.

2. Drink water consistently

lemon, water, lemonade
Caroline Liu

Many of us don't realize that we don't drink nearly enough water to hydrate ourselves properly. According to experts, you should try to drink between half an ounce to an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day. This is because most of your brain and your body is water, and the majority of people do not drink enough water to hydrate themselves properly.

So when you are even just slightly dehydrated, everything in your body will slow down—nothing can work as efficiently as it should. This leads to feeling tired. It sounds simple, but drinking more water can make a huge difference. Get a reusable water bottle and fill it up multiple times a day. Keep yourself hydrated all day and you will notice a great difference in your energy level!

3. Eat smaller and more frequent meals

As a college student, sometimes we are "too busy" to eat. We're always too busy trying to check off all the things on our massive to-do lists. This neglect of our physical needs results in long periods of hunger. A prolonged amount of time spent being hungry results in depleted energy levels and overeating at your next meal. Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day to help maintain your blood sugar, stabilize your energy levels, and minimize hunger. Overeating leads to tiredness, and going long periods without eating will deplete you. Taking snacks on the go is a great way to ensure that your hunger levels don't get out of control.

4. Move a little!

grass, exercise, Friends, squats, two girls, workout, outside, outdoors, working out
Julia Gilman

With the pressures that inevitably come with life, it can be hard to find time to exercise. While it is important to get in a good workout every once in a while, you shouldn't change your life habits overnight and become a total athlete. It’s difficult to motivate yourself to move when you’re tired, but a brisk walk or a few minutes of physical activity—even dancing to a couple of songs with your friends—will boost your energy level way more than caffeine will.  

Another adjustment that you could make to help you throughout the day is to become more aware of your posture. This one's tough because, as millennials, we have grown so accustomed to slouched shoulders from constantly staring at our screens. If you are a sloucher, your blood is not flowing properly throughout your body, and your brain isn’t as alert as when you are sitting or standing with good posture. An upright posture requires that you engage some muscles, and this will naturally make you feel more energetic.

Taylor Kozloski

It can be challenging to give yourself the self-care that you need, but it is so important to feel like the best version of you. It's tempting to put self-care on the back burner when you have a to-do list longer than the length of your body, but these four tips are simple things that you can change in your life that will make you feel so much better. Check out the 5 Best Foods for Energy for more ways to naturally keep your mood levels up. Start taking care of yourself—you deserve it.